They create genetically edited babies in China



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Notimex

A Chinese researcher claims to have helped create the first genetically edited babies, twins born this month, whose DNA is altered by a powerful new tool that can rewrite the original project of life.

If true, it would be a great leap for science with profound ethical implications.

An American scientist said he has participated in genetic editing in China, which is banned in the United States because changes in DNA can be passed on to future generations and there is a risk that other genes will be damaged.

Many scientists believe that it is too risky to try, and some denounce that the Chinese report is equivalent to experimenting with humans.

The researcher, He Jiankui, of Shenzhen City, said he changed embryos to seven couples during fertility treatments and has so far obtained a pregnancy. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent a hereditary disease, but to try to give a characteristic that few people have in a natural way: an ability to resist an infection in the future with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

He noted that the parents involved refused to be identified or interviewed, and that he will not disclose where they live or where the work was done.

No one confirmed his statement independently, nor was it published in a journal, where it would be examined by other experts. He announced his work in Hong Kong on Monday to one of the organizers of an international conference on genetic editing that will begin on Tuesday and previously in exclusive interviews with the Associated Press.

"I feel a strong responsibility that is not just for doing something for the first time, but also for setting an example," he told the AP. "Society will decide what to do next" in terms of allowing or prohibiting this kind of scientific advancement.

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